Pause, Breathe, Go…….and Rest Ye Merry!

By Marta Swiezynska- Yoga Teacher -

Audio source missing

Hello again, it’s me, December!

Have you been missing me over the last eleven months? Have you been missing Christmas and the end of an Old Year? Have you been looking forward to that merciless race that feels not like a year, but the world is coming to an end and everything needs to be sorted out before the month reaches its pinnacle?

And of course, don’t forget that in a way December feels a little shorter because it all has to be done before Christmas Eve!

Are you breathing fast enough, reading your to-do list and catching up with your shopping? But now you are about to read about the importance of “me time” because no one else is going to offer it to you, unless you offer it to yourself.

Stuff that you know, but you haven’t got the time to think about scheduling it in your absolutely packed diary!

Well, as the old Zen proverb says: “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you are too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”

Breathe. I am not going to challenge you on that one because of the reasons listed above, but if that lovely, provocative little saying made you stop and think, and most likely feel a little guilty about not offering yourself any time whatsoever to focus on your wellbeing, you have come to the right space.

As the nights are still long until we approach the Winter Solstice (another good reason to dip into festivities on the 26th of December), in nature this is the time for retreat and recovery, the time for movement towards self-care and healing. Winter is the time that holds depth and stillness and invites us to be quiet and still so we can rebuild our inner strength and wisdom. Paying attention to breath not only honours that notion, but also facilitates inevitable changes that come with winter season.

“Bare Breath Break”

This is a two minute long breathwork designed for these merciless times when you are on the go. If a short break in the middle of the working day, or are sitting or standing on the train on your way from work is all the time you have to gather your thoughts and energies before you have to rush off again, use it.

Use it, make it yours and make it count. All the things that you have to think about, organise and solve will be still there at the end of these ninety seconds, but you will be able to see them from a little distance and with a greater clarity.

Before you begin, become fully aware of where you are, the space around you (however restricted that may be), and the ground beneath you.

Become aware of the position and alignment of your body and everything that your body is experiencing. Whether you are sitting (at work, waiting room or having finished driving), or standing on a train journey, focus on those parts of your body that are connecting you to the ground, or to the surface beneath you.

With your eyes closed begin mindfully watching your breath and notice how it feels: deep or shallow, slow or rapid, smooth or jumpy. Whatever it is, however it feels, without changing your breath, simply notice it. Breathe in and out through the nostrils and feel the touch of your breath in the nostrils. Focus on that sensation of the breath passing through the nostrils again and again.

Anchor your focus on that sensation and after ten to fifteen breaths.. You are ready… on play below.

Please don’t listen when driving or operating machinery.

There is a chance you may begin to enjoy December now. The “Bare Breath Break” is not a promise that you will, but you may develop that wonderful capacity to embrace being where you are: in the middle of the winter, in the middle of the yearly race. Resting in your body, your breath and your mind for two minutes at a time, again and again.

Note: Actual recording is is just over two minutes long as it includes a safe exit out of meditation as well as an opportunity to remain in it for a little longer. Enjoy


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